06-23-2018  4:47 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

America Divided series
Frazier Moore, The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Norman Lear, a show business legend and full-throated humanist, set out last spring to rent a modest apartment in the Bronx.

The landlord welcomed this incognito white man with a couple of offers.

Not so lucky was an African American man who had come to him the day before. The landlord, insisting nothing was available, brusquely turned that man away.

This undercover mission, as well as Lear's subsequent blowing the whistle on the landlord, was filmed for "America Divided," a star-driven, eye-opening probe into systemic inequality in the U.S. today not only in housing but also education, health care, labor, criminal justice and voting rights.

The five-week docuseries, which premiered Friday, September 30, 2016 at 9 p.m. EDT on Epix, employs the 94-year-old Lear (armed with a hidden camera) as one of its correspondents as well as an executive producer.

"I'm happy to have reached the 1 percent," said Lear, back in New York, where he spent part of his childhood, to shoot his report, "but I started as a kid in the Depression whose father was serving (prison) time. But what was wonderful about America was it offered me opportunity. And it promised that opportunity to everybody else, regardless of the color of their skin. After all these years, that promise has yet to be delivered on. I care about that."

Others who care include:

  • Hip-hop artist and actor Common, who explores disparities in the criminal justice system in his hometown of Chicago in the aftermath of the 2014 police killing of teenager Laquan McDonald.
  • Rosario Dawson travels to Flint, Michigan, to probe how the government poisoned its own citizens, a mostly African-American underclass.
  • "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams heads to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he finds an educational and criminal-justice divide resulting from what some call "re-segregation."
  • America Ferrera, whose parents and siblings emigrated from Honduras, travels to Texas' Rio Grande Valley to report on the plight of Central American refugees.
  • Zach Galifianakis examines the nation's deepening political divisions as evidenced in his native state of North Carolina.
  • Amy Poehler ventures into the world of the invisible immigrant women who help keep the California economy afloat: domestic workers.
  • And Peter Sarsgaard looks at the addiction crisis in Dayton, Ohio, where the shuttering of America's factories and rampant unemployment exemplifies a heartland epidemic of drug- and alcohol-related deaths.

However unsettling, each story stands as more than a cry of distress. The narratives not only expose wrong-doers and bear witness to victims, but also highlight dedicated reformers.

In Lear's housing segment, viewers meet Fred Freiberg, executive director of New York's Fair Housing Justice Center, which flushes out discriminatory housing practices, then sues the offenders. It is Freiberg's agency that dispatches Lear and his African-American counterpart on their landlord-busting mission.

"With every story, we tried to show causes of inequality and the impacts of inequality, but we also tried to provide models of social action," says Solly Granatstein, a creator of the "America Divided" series. "We try to show that there are solutions and there is work being done, that it's not just simply a problem."

For the series, Granatstein, a nine-time Emmy-winning former producer at ABC News, NBC News and CBS' "60 Minutes," joined forces with Richard Rowley, whose credits include the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary "Dirty Wars," and Lucian Read, with whom Granatstein teamed on their previous docuseries, "Years of Living Dangerously," which addressed the threat of climate change. (Their Divided Films produced the series in association with RadicalMedia.)

For this new venture, the trio set out to look at what Granatstein calls "the OTHER existential threat to our society and culture."

For this, they enlisted Lear, drawing on his show-business gravitas and his history of social activism. Common, too, signed on as a correspondent-executive producer, while TV hitmaker Shonda Rhimes ("Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal") came aboard as a behind-the-scenes exec producer.

Then the task began to settle on stories and recruit star-correspondents to report them.

"There's no shortage of stories that we could have done," says Granatstein with a wan smile. "But we were looking for geographical and demographic diversity, and where there were heroic individuals and groups who were struggling to heal the divide, whatever that divide might be."

The project, in the works for more than two years, was timed to air during the home stretch of this election season, when issues from the series might help inform the campaign dialogue.

"If you get people attuned to these issues," said Granatstein, "then, eventually, there could be a whole societal shift."

It's a long slog, noted Lear, whose own crusade to stir the public reaches back to his socially conscious sitcoms like "All in the Family" nearly a half-century ago.

"But I don't want to wake up the morning I don't have hope," he declared. Boasting 34,000-plus mornings and counting, Lear persists among the hopeful on "America Divided."

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